Biden’s explanation for why he won’t hold a joint press conference with the Russian head of state as is customary is that it would be a distraction:
“I don’t want to get into being diverted by, did they shake hands, who talked the most and the rest.”
That sounds plausible enough. Having called Putin a “killer without a soul” it might be awkward for Biden to now publicly shake hands.
But come on, be real. This is Joe Biden, a famous slimebag who has been in politics for nearly 50 years. Do you think he hasn’t shaken hands with hundreds of people he has called far worse over the half a century in the sewer that is DC politics?
Of course, evading the protocol need to shake hands publicly might be perceived as another offense but the Russians are opting not to take it as such. Putin’s spokesman points out why:
The absence of plans to hold a joint press conference of the presidents of Russia and the United States – Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden – following the summit in Geneva on June 16 does not mean low expectations from this meeting, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS.
“No, it absolutely does not,” he said.
Peskov stressed that a separate press conference “is the practice of the American side.” “In the UK, Biden and Johnson did not hold a joint press conference either, the US President just prefers to communicate with the press separately,” Peskov said.
“After the talks are over, President Putin will appear before the Kremlin pool reporters and other media outlets,” he added.
Biden doesn’t do joint pressers abroad, period. Not with the Russians, not with the British.
The primary reason why Biden can’t hold a joint presser with Putin isn’t about avoiding awkward optics, but because Biden can’t hold a joint presser, period. He can’t go through a presser that isn’t heavily managed by his handlers and these simply can’t exert enough control on a joint US-Russian event, especially with how willing Putin is to engage with journalists, including Western ones.
In fact, Biden himself has said something like this:
“I always found, and I don’t mean to suggest the press should not know, but this is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other,” Biden told reporters during a press conference at Cornwall Airport Newquay.
Problem isn’t appearing with Putin, problem is the comparisons of the two performances before the press such an appearance would pave the way for. A comparison Biden Hologram can not win.
Appearances with a masked easter bunny on a balcony is about as much as Konstantin Chernenko can reliably handle these days.